SALFORD ODDITY - an introduction
by Tom Short.
In Salford excellence can even be found under a rock in my experience. I would say that people who come from Salford are cynical. With Manchester being next door and Bolton on the other side no one would blame Salford for having developed an inferiority complex, with its neighbours seemingly going up whereas in Salford it seems that everything is going up too, except the wages that is.
I am always amazed at the stories and lives people have lived. The anecdotes and quotes are too much for one article. Salford's excellence is bright and gleaming with a sword and shield that is forged of razor sharp wit and common sense. Peter Kay and Jason Manford both discovered this wit once they had enrolled at Salford University. In fact it wasn't until after they left these grey but pleasant lands that their true natures came bubbling to the surface; cheating us of Phoenix Nights series 3 and being naughty on twitter respectively.
We Salfordians only have to look at a balcony to think 'I wonder how long until someone falls off of it, health and safety risk if anything… and don't even get me started on the nanny state' …and we are off on a rant of epic proportions and before you know it, the world has been put to rights and 'Alex Ferguson needs to run this country, he'd sort it all out'.
I work in Hope Hospital. I don't like change, so I don't call it Salford Royal much like how I still eat Marathon bars and find it annoying when people refer to the lottery as 'lotto'… I like to leave it at that as an introduction for where I work but unfortunately the next question is: 'Oh, what do you do there?' and I have tell them that I only work in the shop. Either that or lie depending on whether I am trying chat up a girl up at the time.
Working in there is a curious thing. Because it is a shop that is in a hospital it has a number of pit falls that come with it. I hear very often 'Expensive these prices, aren't they?' to which I normally agree with them and tell them that I don't set the prices, and the person who does drives a Ferrari - so he can't hear my protests and suggestions over the sound of the engine.
Again because it is a shop in a hospital, it doesn't have a license to sell cigarettes or alcohol. But you would be surprised at the number of people who come in asking if we sell them. I once had someone say to me 'You know this isn't fair, people have addictions' to which I told him that junkies also have addictions but we don't sell heroin either.
It is an enjoyable job where I meet all manner of people. It gives you a real sense of perspective, your problems can be made to feel microscopic in comparison on a wide spectrum from 'Thank God I've got my health' through to 'no one has bought the condoms, so at least I'm not the only one not getting any action tonight'.
I am hoping that this will be a regular column to be able to tell some light hearted memories and stories from my times living and working in Salford. So hopefully you will email the Salford Star saying you enjoyed it.
In parting I shall leave you with this: I was stocking up a fridge with drinks one afternoon, when a smart looking gentleman sidled up to me and said: 'Very expensive these drinks aren't they?' I agreed with him. I think he was disheartened by this and he was looking to pick an argument with me over it. He then asked 'And what is to stop me from going somewhere else?'
I told him that nothing would stop him and that I certainly wasn't going to try to keep him from going, so unless the floor cracked asunder into a chasm there wasn't anything to prevent him from leaving the premises. Stuck for words he left the store, proving that in Salford excellence can even be found under a rock - just not the one he had crawled out from.
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Graphic by Jamie Reid